Cover image for The young eagle : the rise of Abraham Lincoln
The young eagle : the rise of Abraham Lincoln
Winkle, Kenneth J.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Dallas, Tex. : Taylor Trade Pub., [2001]

Physical Description:
x, 395 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E457 .W77 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
E457 .W77 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Drawing on the latest interpretive and methodological advances in historical scholarship, The Young Eagle: The Rise of Abraham Lincoln reexamines the young adult life of America's sixteenth president.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

With economic disparities increasing in recent decades, the question of social mobility in the U.S. has become much debated. Of course, the prime "proof" that anyone with talent and ambition can "make it" has been the career of Abraham Lincoln. Winkle, a professor of American history at the University of Nebraska, examines the rise of Lincoln from his "humble" birth to his victory in the 1860 presidential election. Along the way, he dispels several myths. Although Lincoln was certainly born into modest circumstances, they were average and materially adequate by nineteenth-century standards of frontier life. The supposed love affair with Ann Rutledge probably never happened and was not connected to his bouts of melancholia. Despite current revisionist efforts to denigrate his views, Lincoln's attitudes toward racism in general and African Americans in particular were amazingly liberal for his time. This is a revealing, easily digestible, and rather original perspective on a man who continues to fascinate us. --Jay Freeman

Publisher's Weekly Review

Essential to the myth of Lincoln, writes University of Nebraska historian Winkle, is the image of the log cabin: the 16th president's humble origins made his rise to the White House astounding. Winkle shows that though his roots were modest, Lincoln was hardly a self-made man. His rise from "frontier poverty" to the presidency occurred in a specific historic context, and the strength of this biography lies less in any startling new findings about Lincoln's early years and more in Winkle's careful and consistent placement of Lincoln's choices within larger sociocultural trends. For example, historians have made much of the early death of Lincoln's mother, Nancy. But the loss of one's mother at an early age was common then, says Winkle, and scholars may have overstated the impact it had on the future president. He also examines Lincoln's much-analyzed estrangement from his fatherÄhe refused to go to his father's sick bed or even to attend his funeralÄin a broader historical context. Winkle sets this family drama against the backdrop of changes in economic and family values: as production increasingly left the home for the factory in antebellum America, "fathers... lost their privileged, patriarchal status." Similarly, Winkle describes Lincoln's turbulent courtship of Mary Todd in light of changes in the institution of marriage during the 1830s and '40s. Does all this contextualizing add up to a sweepingly revised biography of Lincoln, or even to a grand new understanding of his "rise"? No. But Winkle's attention to the particularities of time and place reminds readers that Lincoln was not simply an underdog hero who appeared on the scene in 1860, and this outlook distinguishes his book from the endless stream of Lincoln biographies. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Over the years, the life of Abraham Lincoln has been the focus of such a large number of scholarly and popular studies that many might wonder whether a new addition to this literature is warranted. Yet this work by Winkle (American history, Univ. of Nebraska; Politics of Community) demonstrates that modern historical methodology can offer new insight into this important life. Winkle utilizes community analysis to examine the life of Abraham Lincoln in its broad social and cultural context and to compare him meaningfully to his contemporaries. Drawing from a broad range of primary and secondary sources, the author is able to reconstruct Lincoln's youth in an unusual and quite well-documented study that informs the reader as much about life and politics in mid-19th century America as it does about Lincoln himself. The result is a good addition to larger public and academic libraries and especially to collections specializing in Lincoln and the Civil War. Theresa McDevitt, Indiana Univ. of Pennsylvania (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.